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Whereby The Great Human Family Can Live in Peace

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

- Julia Ward Howe, American writer, activist, suffragist, pacifist and abolitionist, was born this day in New York City, 1819, 194 years ago. In addition to penning to words to the famous Civil War anthem “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Howe dedicated her life after the Civil War to the causes of abolition, equality, and pacifism. She was one of the originators of the concept of Mother’s Day, which in her mind would be a day of congress across all nations for all women who have suffered from the fighting of their husbands and sons, advocating for a stop to violence. Howe’s truth is still marching on.

The Nature of Truth

A poem is an approach towards a truth. But poems can be funny, witty, quirky and sly. They can be mischievous, tricksterish. Their truths don’t sound like the truths of the courtroom or the inquest. Does this, then, show us something about the nature of truth? Can we say there are many truths, or, rather, many aspects of Truth? That truth itself is a shape-shifter?

- Scottish poet, Kathleen Jamie, born today in 1962. The author of poems exploring gender, nature and life, Jamie has received numerous awards including the Forward Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.